Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Northumbrian Beauty

When I tap "beauty" into the Google search box for my photo collection, I get a flood of too-easy, stereotypical beauty. There's enough sunsets and mountaintops to induce indigestion in even the most hardened tourist.

But the picture at the top of this post is top of the search results.

It's October 2015. I'm standing outside the Fenwick department store in Newcastle upon Tyne, north-east England. Instead of the usual merchandise or animatronic Christmas displays, the windows promote generic looks. In front, two strangers march in lockstep, neither likely to use the advertised products, at least not in public.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

The Remains of a Tree

In the past few days, a sculpture has appeared on my running route around Lake of the Isles (Minneapolis, MN). It's a defiant sculpture, but it's not the creation of an artist.

The remains of the tree wait to be felled and chipped: it was diseased, it has to go. New trees will be planted for the next generation.

But this week it makes a statement. An old, gnarled hand is giving the finger to xenophobia. Those who have squandered yet another opportunity to call on our better selves are beneath its contempt.

Note: "The Remains of the Day" by British novelist Kazuo Ishiguro is a good read.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Urban Hike and Bike: All Over the Nordeast Map

Nordeast (Northeast Minneapolis) encapsulates much of the early working class history of Minneapolis, but it gets short shrift in guide books.

Recently I've been exploring Nordeast, trying to decode it's history and culture. Later in this post I'll introduce some tools I've developed, including an interactive map and a feature to customize and print Nordeast guides.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Veterans Day 2015

Today I cycled to Sheridan Veterans Memorial beside the Mississippi River in Northeast Minneapolis.

The monument reflects on the cost of war, expresses hope for peace, and is even-handed about the conquerors and vanquished.

The push to build this memorial came from veterans. It was dedicated just two years ago, so it is not a strong part of the public consciousness. Memorials at the State Capitol, Fort Snelling, and Victory Memorial Parkway get more attention.

I stood there alone, Veterans Day 2015. Balloons had been attached to some of the markers indicating the day had not been forgotten.

Ten conflict markers commemorate America's wars, including the one war on Minnesota soil, the U.S.-Dakota War of 1862.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015


I like to cook from scratch, but some days I simply want to assemble previously cooked ingredients.

The solution is to have a selection of "subassembly" ingredients in the freezer. I've written about one of these ingredients: stock. Another is mirepoix.